“Jesus Loves You”: Jarrod and Lucinda Davidoff

Jarrod Davidoff had never heard about Jesus when he was in high school. As a young Jewish boy, his adolescent years were a very dark and sad time, followed by military duty, where he had never felt lonelier, until one day an Afrikaans soldier came to sit next to him and had the courage to share the Gospel with him.

A young Jewish man set free!
Moved by what he had heard, Jarrod’s started wondering if Jesus could be the Messiah he had read about those many years ago in synagogue. Soon after this incident, three other Jewish believers started sharing the Gospel with Jarrod. They showed him the Messianic prophecies in the Torah and Tanakh (Old Testament) proving that Jesus was the Saviour. A friend from school, Phillip, invited him to a home cell meeting where Jarrod accepted Jesus as his Saviour. That day, having encountered the power of God, Jarrod knew he would never be the same again. “The most amazing thing happened when I accepted Jesus, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders and an amazing peace flood my heart and soul.“

Unhappy family members…
Not everyone in his family was pleased about Jarrod becoming a Christian. His uncle, who had been like a father to him after his dad died, had a Rabbi interrogate him and try to convince him that he had been brainwashed. This continued for a couple of weeks, but Jarrod withstood the pressure. After failing to discredit his nephew’s new belief in Jesus, his uncle forbade Jarrod to attend family functions.

A call to evangelism
This did not deter the excitable young man, and Jarrod immediately began telling friends, family and strangers about Jesus. He had been studying business at the time of being converted and was preparing to enter the corporate world. But after his encounter with God, Jarrod commenced a two year Bible College degree and began preparing for ministry.
Some time after this, in a church service, the Lord showed Jarrod a vision where he was preaching the Gospel on stage to a great multitude of people. “He spoke to me, sharing that He had called me to be an evangelist. The Lord said, ‘Where your treasure is there will your heart be too. Now  buy a sound system preach the Gospel in the inner city’ “
Deeply impacted, Jarrod took his lifesavings, bought a sound system and started preaching every Saturday from 1997 to 2000 in downtown JHB.
Saving the youth, one school
at a time!
In 2001 Jarrod established the ‘Save the World Foundation’ (STWF), with outreaches in schools as its primary focus. The ministry  has two teams who visit one school a day in Southern Africa and one more team that has just begun visiting schools in Los Angeles, America. Jarrod is passionate about reaching the next generation and through the Lord’s direction, implemented a multi-pronged approach to evangelism.
“When the teams visit a city, our aim is to preach the Gospel in every school there. This can take from three to six months and sometimes a year or two, depending on the number of schools. All the campaigns are pre-booked and are conducted by either myself or one of our STWF School Outreach teams. We preach to the student body in assembly time, teach students spiritual growth lessons in their classrooms and have trained volunteers from local churches who counsel students individually throughout the day.
Before outreaches, we meet with pastors in the area and invite them to “adopt” a school for follow up and discipleship purpose. Through this method, thousands of youth have come to Jesus and have been discipled by their local churches.

Bringing the elderly to salvation
During school holidays, the teams visit Old Age Homes, and share the Gospel with the elderly. On arrival they usually spend an hour going from room to room, inviting the folk to an outreach. Despite what most of us think, some of the aged folk are not always open to the Gospel. According to Jarrod, “some are a little hard hearted, but with love and encouragement, most end up responding to the message with eagerness and receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. “
Jarrod, who has a heart for the elderly is always astonished at the result. “I shudder to think that many of them would not have gone to Heaven had we not reached them. We therefore encourage churches to reach out to the old age homes in their community, to share Jesus with them, love them and honour them. It is such a ripe harvest field.”

Jarrod once preached in a Jewish old age home in Cape Town, where as a result nearly 60 elderly people gave their lives to Christ. It was truly a memorable occasion for him and the team.

The Lord opens the doors
All the funding for the outreaches comes from generous partners, friends and strangers who hear about what the ministry is doing through word of mouth and on television and in magazines. Jarrod is always in awe of the manner in which God opens doors for Save the World Foundation. “We have seen unprecedented favour to preach the Gospel in public schools in cities and are so grateful for the Lord who provides for our needs through various means.“

Working behind the scenes
Behind the scenes, there is a dynamic administration team in the ministry’s Johannesburg head office  who assist with the co-ordination of school outreaches, project administration and financial management. Jarrod has complete confidence in his team and knows he could fulfil the Lord’s call without their help – especially the financial director who happens to be his wife, Lucinda! For many years Jarrod was alone in the ministry, but God had the perfect helper in mind, and even brought the pair together in a unique way.
Lucinda recounts the meeting, “I was working and living in London at the time and my brother, Bert called me up and asked me if he could give my e-mail address to an evangelist friend of his. At first I was a little hesitant as I didn’t think that meeting someone through email was going to be too successful, but I agreed reluctantly and even started praying into our friendship.”

A powerful partnership
“When I came to South Africa later that year to visit my family, Jarrod and I met up for dinner and instantly became good friends. It was just a ‘God-connection’. We stayed friends for a few years, two of which I was still in London. When I returned to SA, we continued our friendship and a year later we started courting. Within eight months Jarrod proposed and in August 2010 we married. “ Today Lucinda oversees important aspects of the ministry and attends some outreaches with Jarrod, helping to counsel young girls. The couple have temporarily relocated to LA to pioneer an office and school office outreach team.
Save the World Foundation recently partnered with the ‘Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ who have established Bible clubs in about 120 schools. The Christian students running these Bible clubs have the right to invite STWF to their school campuses to have outreaches during their 30 minute lunch time breaks in the school auditoriums and classrooms. It has been a move of unmerited favour for STWF. “The past six public school outreaches have seen about 700 students making a decision for Jesus, each receiving a salvation pack with one of Jarrod’s salvation DVD messages, CD messages, a Bible and salvation booklet and a contact detail form so that they can be followed up.”       
The couple try to get back to SA as often as possible, as outreaches still run constantly over here, but LA is keeping them busy. At present Save the World have about 50 public LA/Orange County school outreaches booked for the next six months.

Making a difference overseas
Being based in the film-making and media hub of the world, Jarrod believes one of the results of thousands of school children being saved will be the long-term transformation of the media. “The Lord has called us to convert the future media and entertainment influences to Jesus, who in turn will influence the world with the Gospel.
We are committed to the call and know that time is limited. Statistics have shown that children who come to Christ under 18 years of age have a 75% greater chance of remaining committed Christians, compared to adults who get saved later on in life.”
The challenges of evangelism are many, but they press on
Pioneering a work for the Lord in new cities and starting up projects that the Lord has laid on their hearts requires a great deal of faith. Initially, the team are without the support of a congregation or friends in new cities and are dependent solely on the Lord as their source of provision, comfort and friendship. But Jarrod, Lucinda and the team face these daunting tasks and times with an unshakable belief in God’s faithfulness. “I find in those times that we grow the most in maturity and our trust relationship with the Father. We have learnt to persevere, to really seek His face and have never been disappointed.”

Training evangelists to fulfil the Great Commission
This month, Save the World Foundation launch their Evangelism Training School on the 23rd of January 2012 in South Africa. The aim is to train and equip evangelists, soul winners and youth workers to lead hundreds, thousands and millions of people to Jesus.  The training will be focussed on daily practical evangelism outreaches in the schools from 7-12am followed by evangelism training and lectures from 2 – 4pm daily. Students have the option of taking part in this training for three months, six months or a year.

Equipping future generations
Jarrod has always had a Kingdom vision and thus the school is open for people from all denominations and backgrounds. “We encourage all future and potential evangelists to attend the school and get equipped to learn how to function as an evangelist. Youth pastors, ministers, leaders and current evangelists are welcome to attend short term training and learn new skills and tools for effective outreach.”

Gender Hierarchy in the Home

The debate surrounding the roles of men and women in marriage, the family and society has been raging for decades. Not surprisingly, the controversy has found its way into the Church. Various Christian denominations have attempted to address the issue of women’s leadership in the Church without any clear resolutions. It is interesting that various Christian literature and films have reignited debate about doctrines known as ‘Christian Patriarchy’ and ‘Complementarianism’, which some have argued promotes gender hierarchy in the Church and home; teaches that a wife should obey her husband unconditionally (even if he instructs her to sin) and denies women of freedom to vote and work.

Issues around patriarchy
Despite growing confusion in the world about gender roles, the Scriptures clearly outline the distinct roles of men and women in marriage and the family. Much of the discrepancy about the roles of men and women in society is a result of sin and the blatant disregard of the guiding principles of God’s Word.
God was not confused when He created male and female and determined their purpose in the earth. In Genesis 1:26–28 God creates (Hebrew ‘Bara’) the immortal spirit of mankind, divides that spirit into male and female genders, blesses them, and gives them dominion to replenish and rule the earth. Genesis 2 records the making (Hebrew ‘Asah’) of the man and woman’s physical bodies and God’s instructions to Adam. “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die’.” Gen 2:15-16.

God’s design for mankind
It is important to note that when Adam received God’s commandments, the woman was not yet made a living being. In Genesis 2:18 “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him’.”
Later in verses 21–25, God forms woman from the man. “And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man’. And because woman was formed from the side of man, she is (re)joined with man in marriage, thereby re-establishing the original creation purpose of mankind.
 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh” Gen 2:24. This means woman completes and complements man in the sacred institution of marriage, but never competes. When God gave Adam His commandments, the woman was not present. Consequently, God conferred on Adam the responsibility of spiritual head of his marriage and family. Eve’s deception therefore, was the first failure of man to lead and take responsibility for his marriage. The first consequence of sin is manifested when Adam blames his wife for their disobedience. “Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave of the tree, and I ate’.” Gen 3:12. But God rejects the man’s excuse and judges Adam for not exercising his authority, disobeying God’s commandments and abdicating his headship of the marriage by heeding his wife’s instructions to sin against God.
“Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it. Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it, all the days of your life’.” Gen 3:17.

Men and women are equal
Men and women were created equal in the sight of God but with distinct differences and complementary responsibilities in marriage, the family and the Church. The New Testament re-establishes God’s purpose for men and women in marriage and the family. “Wives submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is Head of the Church; and He is the Saviour of the body…Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her.” Eph 5:22–25.

Following Christ’s example
Regardless of how many ways we attempt to interpret this Scripture, the commandment is clear and unambiguous – wives must submit to their own husbands. Significantly, the Bible points to Christ as the example both in understanding the husband’s headship of the wife and the husbands love for the wife. The Bible instructs husbands to love their wives, just as Christ loved the Church.
And how did He do this? By giving His life for the Church. The question is, “How many women will struggle to submit to their husbands if their husbands loved them like Christ loved the Church?” Much of the woman’s resistance to submit to her husband stems from the husband’s failure to love her “as Christ loved the Church.”
Interestingly, husbands are repeatedly commanded in Scripture to love their wives. But nowhere in the Bible are wives commanded to love their husbands.
The reason for this is that women are wired to instinctively respond to the love and attention of their husbands. As a result, God does not have to command what comes naturally to women. The extent and degree to which a man enjoys the love of his wife is directly proportional to the love and attention he lavishes on her.

The Scriptural role of men
The Scriptures instruct fathers to raise their children in the ways of the Lord. “And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Eph 6:4. The Bible places ultimate responsibility on the man for the spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing of his marriage and family. Every individual is accountable to God for their own actions. As a result, nobody answers to God on your behalf. But God has clearly ordained the man to fulfil the roles of prophet, priest and king in the context of marriage and the family. In his prophetic role the man is required to speak the Word of God into the lives of his wife and children.

It’s about servant leadership
The priestly role designates the man’s responsibility to pray and intercede for his family. And the role of the king compels the man to govern righteously in all matters concerning his marriage and family. The man’s headship of his marriage and family was never intended to be dictatorial. His primary example of headship is Jesus Christ. That is why men are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. The man is instructed by Scripture to follow Jesus’ example of servant leadership. Consequently, the man’s headship of his family is a position of sacrificial service to his wife and children. The Christian husband and father therefore never puts his desires above his family’s needs. He lays down his life for them just as Jesus laid down His life for us.

The divine blueprint works
No man that loves his wife as Christ loves the Church would ask her to sin. And no woman is commanded by Scripture to violate her conscience and sin against God as an act of submission to her husband. Submission in the Biblical context speaks of Divine authority and order and never dominance of one over the other.
Christ is the Head of His Church under the authority of the Father. Man is the head of his marriage and family under the authority of Christ. This Divine blueprint ensures the orderly governance and protection of the family and society. The erosion of the principles of this Divine order is tragically apparent in contemporary society.

Consequences of absent fathers
Men are increasingly abdicating their God given roles in their families. As a result, women have relinquished their important roles in the family and had to take on certain responsibilities that prove to be detrimental in the long run. Divorce has skyrocketed and families are breaking down at an alarming rate. Divorce has wreaked havoc in society and has contributed significantly to the psychological and emotional dysfunction in the lives of millions of young people. Fatherless homes have become the number one contributor to a host of social ills. As men abdicate their family responsibilities, the burden is passed on to society, leading to ballooning welfare budgets. The spiralling rates of crime, violence and sexual immorality are mainly a consequence of absent fathers.
In response to the failure of men, women have attempted to adopt the dual roles of mom and dad. In order to eradicate the Biblical notion of the man’s headship of the family, feminists advocate for ‘gender equality’ by competing with men. The liberated woman has multiple sexual partners, abandons her maternal instincts by aborting her unborn babies and pursues personal ambition at the expense of family.

Sin causes inequality
The soaring abortion statistics and the millions of single parent families bear grim testimony to the tragic social consequences of this deception. Abortion is, was and always will be a sin issue. Women abort their unborn girl babies in India because they prefer sons. The one child policy in China is a method of population control. Women in European nations and the US abort their unborn babies mainly for convenience.
Abortion in South Africa has become a form of tax-funded contraception. The majority of babies murdered through abortion have little to do with gender inequality and a lot to do with mankind’s rebellion against God. Sin causes inequality – not Biblical teaching.

Women have a vital role to play
The gifting and anointing of women to lead and preach within the Body is clearly apparent. However, as with men, women preachers are to be accountable and under authority as laid out in the Word. God is using these women to impact millions of lives especially in contexts and countries (like India, China, Mozambique, etc) where there is lacking male leadership or a great need.

We need Biblical teaching
The tragic increase of single parent families and the catastrophic social consequences of absent fathers prove that God’s original design for the family is the only model that works. God’s commandments are absolute. There is no room for negotiation. We either obey God’s order and principles for the family, or we choose to adopt the world’s standards, with devastating results.
The only way to ensure peace, harmony and stability in marriage and the family is to return to the Bible and actively work to restore God’s Divine blueprint for these sacred institutions.

When Civil Disobedience is Allowed for a Christian

The emperor of Rome from AD54 to 68 was Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, simply known as Nero. He was not a Godly man, but rather a tyrant who engaged in a variety of illicit acts including sexual perversion. In 64AD, the great Roman fire occurred with Nero himself suspected of arson. In his writings, the Roman senator and historian Tacitus recorded: “To get rid of the report [that he had started the fire], Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most horrific tortures on a class hated for their abominations – called Christians by the populace” (Annals XV).

God appoints leaders
It was during Nero’s reign that the Apostle Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans. While one might expect him to encourage the Christians in Rome to rise up against their oppressive ruler, in Chapter 13, we find this instead: “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.
For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behaviour, but for evil. Do you wish not to fear authority?”

Honouring those in authority
“Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; it is a minister of God and an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore, it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, because rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear and honour to whom honour is due” Rom 13:1–7.
Even under the reign of a ruthless and godless emperor, Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells his readers to be in subjection to the government.
Moreover, he states that rulers are serving God in their political office. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the Will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond slaves of God. Honour all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honour the king.” 1 Pet 2:13–17.

Three different stances: anarchy
Both Paul and Peter’s teachings have stirred quite a few questions from Christians with regards to the subject of civil disobedience. Do Paul and Peter mean that Christians are always to submit to whatever the government commands?
Is it wrong or sinful for Christians to protest? There are at least three general positions on the matter of civil disobedience. First is the anarchist view which says that a person can choose to disobey the government whenever they like and whenever they feel they are personally justified in doing so. Such a stance has no Biblical support whatsoever as is evident in Romans 13.

Another view: patriotism
The extreme patriot believes that a person should always follow and obey their country no matter what the command. As will be shown in a moment, this view also lacks Biblical support. It is not supported in the history of nations either.
For example, during the Nuremberg trials, the attorneys for the accused attempted to use the defence that their clients were only following the direct orders of the government and therefore could not be held responsible for their actions. However, one of the judges dismissed their argument with the simple question: “But gentlemen, is there not a law above our laws?”
The position the Scriptures uphold is one of Biblical submission. A Christian is permitted to participate in civil disobedience to the government if it commands evil, such that it requires a Christian to act in a manner that is contrary to the clear teachings and requirements of God’s Word.

Civil disobedience in the Bible
In Exodus 1, the Egyptian Pharaoh commanded two Hebrew midwives to kill all male Jewish babies. An extreme patriot would have carried out the government’s order, yet the Bible says the midwives,“feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live.” Exodus 1:17
The Bible goes on to say the midwives lied to Pharaoh about why they were letting the children live. Though they lied and disobeyed their government, “God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty. Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them.” Exodus 1:20–21
In Joshua 2, Rahab disobeyed a command from the king of Jericho to expose the Israelite spies who had entered the city. Instead, she let them down a rope so they could escape. She resisted a command from the top government official and was thus redeemed by God from the city’s destruction.

A Biblical point of view
1 Samuel records a command given by King Saul that no one was to eat until Saul had won the war. However, Jonathan broke his father’s order and ate honey to refresh himself from combat. When Saul found out, he ordered that his son be put to death. But, the people resisted him and this command (1 Samuel 14:45).
Another example of civil disobedience, done in an attitude of Biblical submission, is found in 1 Kings 18. The chapter briefly introduces Obadiah who “feared the Lord greatly.” When the queen, Jezebel, was killing God’s prophets, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them from her so they could live.
In Daniel 3 we read how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down to the golden idol in disobedience to King Nebuchadnezzar’s command. Daniel defied King Darius’ decree not to pray to anyone other than the king. In both cases, God rescued His people from the death penalty that was imposed,
signalling His approval of their actions.

When may we disobey authority?
Acts records the civil disobedience of Peter and John towards the authorities of the time. They were jailed for preaching about Jesus, and the religious authorities were determined to stop them from teaching the Gospel. But Peter said: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19–20.

Obeying God and not man
Later, the rulers confronted the Apostles and reminded them of their command not to teach about Jesus, to which Peter responded; “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29.
A final example of civil disobedience is when the beast commands all people to worship an image of himself. The Apostle John states in Revelation that those who become Christians and are committed to the right way will disobey the beast and his government and refuse to worship the image (Rev 13) just as Daniel’s companions violated Nebuchadnezzar’s decree to worship his idol.
In 2 Kings, an approved revolt against a reigning government official is recorded. Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, began destroying the royal offspring of the house of Judah.
However, Joash the son of Ahaziah was taken by the king’s daughter and hidden so the bloodline would be preserved. Six years later, Jehoiada gathered the men, declared Joash king, and put Athaliah to death.

Guidelines for Christian protest
Christians are called to be exemplary citizens; to earnestly do what is right and good and to show respect for those in authority.
• Christians should resist authority that commands or compels evil and work within the laws of the land, without violence, to change a wicked government
• Civil disobedience is permitted when the government’s laws or commands are in direct violation of God’s Laws [in His Word]
• If a Christian disobeys an evil government, unless he/she can flee, they should accept the government’s punishment
• Christians are permitted to work to install new government leaders within the laws that have been established.

Pray for your leaders
[It is important for Christians to remember that our weapons of warfare are spiritual and that the best way to see change in a land is to earnestly pray and trust God. This does not mean we must be passive however – and in fact it is the passivity of the Church and Christians in general that has led to many evil leaders and governments being elected to positions of power].
Christians are commanded to pray for their leaders and for God to intervene in His time to change any ungodly path that they are pursuing: “…I urge that prayers and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all Godliness and dignity.” 1 Tim 2:1–2.

Pride: Do not Fall into The Trap!

Shortly after my conversion I was shocked to find a theological graduate who was too proud to speak to a youth group, or join in evangelistic outreaches. I had been quite excited when I heard that this graduate was returning from Theological College; he had been studying the Word of God for five years and  I immediately invited him to speak to our youth group, but he looked at me with disdain and declared that he hadn’t studied at Theological college for five years just to speak to a youth group! I also invited him to speak to my Bible class, or to join us for an evangelistic outreach we were planning. He made it very clear that such activities were quite beneath him. This graduate sat for over a year waiting for ‘a call’ but was unwilling to engage in evangelism during that time. “But if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Gal 6:3.

Ministers who are too important
It was a similar shock during my military service when the chaplain arrived for a mid-week service only to turn around and, disgusted, declared: “I’m not going to waste my time with just a handful of people!” There were 80 of our company gathered in the hall for the service, but this dominee did not seem to think that we were worth his time.
Most of the unit were still out on field practicals seeking to find their way back to base with compass and map work. Our 80 odd men were the only ones who had arrived back in time for the chaplain’s period. As it so happened, the men weren’t keen to give up this break in our hectic training schedule and go back to drilling, so they started to shout for me (their resident religious fanatic) to come and present a sermon. I was a rifleman in training, just as they were, with the same shaven head and brown uniform. However, I gladly seized the opportunity that the chaplain had just scorned. What a poor testimony that minister was to the men that day…

Humble and teachable?
If you wonder why your life is not bearing fruit, perhaps it is because pride has taken root and God is resisting you (James 4:6).
The Scriptures teach: “The humble He guides in justice, the humble He teaches His way. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His Covenant and His testimonies.” Psalm 25:9-10.
There is no doubt that God gives the very best to those who leave the choice to Him. The Will of God will never lead us where the Grace of God cannot keep us. The question is: “Am I humble and teachable?”

Are you willing and available?
Often, after speaking on missions at various churches, I have some individual approach me and declare: “When I was young I made myself available to God. I said I would go anywhere He sent me, do anything He told me, but nothing! God never guided me. I was available, I was keen to go, but God never gave me the green light.”
I find these testimonies unbelievable. By their account, their motives were pure, their hearts were fully surrendered, they were eager and willing, but the only problem was that God neglected to guide them! This kind of self-justification insinuates that if there was any fault it was on God’s side.
Another phrase that I frequently hear which indicates dangerous spiritual pride is: “I won’t do anything unless God guides me!” When we get our priorities straight: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” Matt 6:33, everything tends to follow from that.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way….” Psalm 27:23. The Will of God is no mystery for us to discover. He has made His Will abundantly clear in the Bible. “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching…” John 14:23. It is God’s Will that we do restitution, return things that we have borrowed; restore property to its rightful owner. Repair or replace items that we have damaged, make right with individuals whom we have wronged. However, the super-spiritual want specific guidance for every aspect of life. When you invite them on an evangelistic outreach they respond: “I will pray about it.” When you ask them to a prayer vigil, they also want to pray about that. Generally such people don’t “feel led” to actually do what the Bible clearly commands us to do, which is to pray to God and proclaim the Gospel to the unsaved. “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:21.

Inconsistent faith
Do we receive guidance from God to shop, cook and eat food? Do we need guidance before we brush our teeth and wash our bodies in the morning? Do we need guidance as to whether we will go into work and fulfil our obligations each day? No, hardly. It is not necessary to receive specific guidance for daily duties, Biblical commands and personal responsibilities. We are expected to use common sense and be diligent and dependable in our duties.
“He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife.  But he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.”  Prov 28:25.

Suffering from spiritual pride
Spiritual pride is also seen in those who declare: “I only read the Bible!” Of course, we must be Bible-based Christians. We need to be soaked and saturated in the Word. We should be like the Bereans who were more noble than the rest “… in that they received the Word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Acts 17:11.
However, to refuse to read good Christian books, discipleship materials and Bible study aids, is to stifle our Spiritual growth. “Have you heard the counsel of God?  Do not limit wisdom to yourself.” Job 15:8.

We can learn from others
It is extremely prideful to assume that we can understand more of the Bible than the Church fathers, Reformers and faithful students of the Word who have gone before us. There are others who have more diligently studied the languages of Hebrew and Greek, the cultures, histories and geography of Bible lands. It is extremely unlikely that any of us will understand the Word of God better on our own than we will as part of the worldwide Church of all ages.
For the expenditure of a few hours we can benefit from lifetimes of study from some of the greatest Bible teachers in Church history.  Why would one want to deprive oneself of the Biblical insights of faithful servants of God such as Augustine, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, Heinrich Bulllinger, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon and so many others?
“A haughty look, a proud heart and the ploughing of the wicked are sin.”  Prov 21:4.

The pride of Pharaoh
There are many examples in Scripture of God resisting the proud. The pharaoh of Egypt was proud and his arrogance spelt disaster for the Egyptian empire. The pride of Pharaoh led to complete economic, social and military catastrophe. After God had judged Egypt with the ten plagues, the superpower of the world was crippled and never fully recovered. “Everyone that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.” Prov 16:5.

Pride comes before a fall
When King Nebuchadnezzar boasted “Is not this great Babylon that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honour of my majesty?” Dan 4:30. God rebuked his pride and he was driven out from men and lived amongst the animals in the field until he acknowledged and honoured the greatness of Almighty God. “A man’s pride shall bring him low” Prov 29:33.

Pride leads to catastrophe
When King Herod arrayed himself in royal apparel and sat on his throne, “… the people kept shouting, ‘the voice of a God and not of a man!’ Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give Glory to God and he was eaten by worms and died.” Acts 19:22-23.
“Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!” James 3:5. Of King Hezekiah the Scripture says: “his heart was lifted up, therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem.”  2 Chron 32:25. Clearly personal pride in national leaders can lead to national catastrophe.

Herod’s arrogance
Our Lord Jesus Christ warned of the danger of pride as He taught on the Pharisee who dared to come into the Temple and pray to himself:  “God, I thank You that I am not like other men…” Luke 18:11. In Revelation Jesus condemned the church of Laodicea: “Because you say I am rich, have become wealthy and have need of nothing – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.”  Rev 3:17.

The national religion of hell
Pride is the idolatrous worship of ourselves. It is the national religion of hell. The first step towards hell is pride; the first step towards Heaven is humility.  Pride thrust Lucifer out of Heaven, Adam out of paradise, Nebuchadnezzar out of society and Saul out of his kingdom. St. Augustine wrote: “Men ought to be ashamed of being proud, seeing that God was humbled for his sake.”  DL Moody said, “God sends no one away empty, except those who are full of themselves.”

Three tests to recognise pride
Oswald Sanders recommended three tests to evaluate how much pride we must repent of:

1. The test of precedence: How do you react when another is selected for the assignment you expected? Or for the office you coveted? How do you react when another is promoted and you are overlooked? When someone else outshines you in gifts and accomplishments?
2. The test of sincerity: In your moments of honest self-criticism you will admit many things about your own failings and weaknesses. But how do you feel when others say exactly the same things about you that you, in the sincerity of your heart, have recognised as true?
3. The test of criticism: Does criticism arouse hostility and resentment in your heart? Does criticism cause you to fly in immediate self-justification? There is nothing that pride resents so much as to be rebuked. “The folly of fools is deceit.” Prov 14:8

Steps to defeating pride

• Pray and ask God to reveal areas where pride has crept into your heart and life
• Ask God to convict you point by point (Psalm 139:23-24) in His loving way
• Confess your pride to God and receive forgiveness for it. The righteousness of Christ and the Grace of God empowers you (1 John 1:9)
• Ask friends to point out the fruits of pride in you. Submitting to the counsel   
   of others is a significant step forward to defeating pride
• Confess your sins of pride to those you have affected. Encourage a close friend or mentor to hold you accountable to living humbly and with a teachable spirit. Humility isn’t an emotion; it’s a decision of the will to think and act differently (1 Pet 5:6)
• Encourage and serve others each and every day. Associate with the lowly. Do the things you don’t want to do; die to self and put down your flesh
• Regularly study the goodness and greatness of God. Meditate on the Word and what it has to say about our Lord. Find your satisfaction in Him and not in your vain accomplishments. Live to glorify God and promote His Kingdom – not your own.

Take your pride to the Cross
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. In the words of Isaac Watts’ hymn:

“When I survey the wondrous Cross
on which the Prince of Glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.”

Remember your war against pride is life-long. It is not a battle won in a day. But as you faithfully put pride to death and put on humility, you will experience greater freedom and more importantly greater conformity to image and likeness of Christ. It is our priority to ensure that we are not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2). “The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honour.” Proverbs 15:33.
PETER HAMMOND is a missionary, Bible-teacher and author. For more information, contact:
021 689 4480; www.frontline.org.za; or email

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